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Tell us about your loved one.
Funny from a young age, he used humor to offer humanity and respect to all. A bright eyed child who embraced life in all its glory, he played ice hockey despite growing up in the desert. Nicknamed "Woodstock" for his likeness to the Charlie Brown character, his blond hair sticking out from his helmet and his small feet deflecting pucks, Bobby Orr was his inspiration. Later he loved woodworking, creating things with his hands. His garden bounty found its way to his ever ready BBQ as the neighborhood grill master. Known as the ""machine whisperer"", Jim could coax outdated machinery into working again and again.
Fishing was a favorite past time along with creating havoc with fireworks with his uncles. Where ever he lived, Jim fished often leaving his catch in the sink for his mom to clean (which wasn't well received.) Known as someone who would give away his last cigarette, his last bite of food or warm jacket, Jim never met a stranger. Even now people seeing his picture tell me they know him. Fascinated by learning he followed history and conspiracy theories. Jim loved to read Stephen King, John Grisham and any car or household repair manuals. Without a lazy bone in his being, he loved helping others solve problems especially if it involved a car, a household appliance or any piece of equipment.
Jim was my best travel pal, my beloved son and best teacher of life's realities. I believe he continues to guide me from his place of healing and peace."
Tell us about James' struggle with addiction
Jim's journey into the disease of addiction began when he was 13. In an early treatment program, we were told he wouldn't live to be 16. That spurred Jim and I to prove "the experts" wrong. He lived to be 35 with many wonderful years, many friends and great experiences. From pot, prescription pills through cocaine and alcohol, Jim fought and conquered each. His life was on track despite setbacks when heroin was introduced to his group of friends. This proved to be the final dual for life. Ultimately Jim died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol. The true cause of death was the toll taken by the long term effects of the disease of addiction. He never gave up fighting for his life. He remains my hero.
What made James smile?
Pulling one over on anyone especially his uncles and his mom. He was so clever! He loved his animals - dogs, cats, hamsters. He loved being excited about the surprise of a hawk landing near, a whale breaching, snow he didn't have to shovel but could sled in. Surprising his uncle, Tim, for his 50th birthday party by showing up. Listening to his mom stumbling as she played the piano as he sat with his stepfather in companionable silence. Teaching his stepfather, Tom, how to grill the perfect steak.
What do you miss most about James?
His wit, his humility, his ability to make dear friends almost instantly. i miss discovering life together, daily events and adventurous travels. Seeing him paddle his nervous grandmother around in the ocean while entertaining her with jokes to calm her nerves. I miss his hugs, his smile and his innate goodness.